Boxing Day Test: India bowlers in focus after perfect batting show vs Australia

first_imgIn 2018, India played 10 Tests overseas before reaching Melbourne. Of those 10 Tests, India won only 3 and lost 7. And every time they lost, questions were asked of the batsmen’s inability to stand up in alien conditions.Virat Kohli was the lone fighter. He scored runs in South Africa while the others failed. He scored more runs in England where he got some support from Cheteshwar Pujara but the others continued to fail.Australia promised to be different. India won in Adelaide without a major contribution from their captain. Pujara played two fine innings and Ajinkya Rahane found his touch. In Perth, Kohli scored a gutsy hundred on a tough pitch but once again, the others could not even come close to his exceptional standards.But there was promise. At the Melbourne Cricket Ground, two new openers took guard and showed their more seasoned colleagues how to tackle Nathan Lyon and how to put a prize on their wickets. Some of the shots played in Perth and even in Adelaide were not called for.On a more docile batting pitch, India did what they were always capable of doing. After a stellar start by Mayank Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara continued to torment Australia while Virat Kohli dug in to get 82. Rahane, Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant – men capable of explosive knocks, got themselves in before playing their shots. Cheteshwar Pujara scored his second century of the ongoing series on Day 2 of the Boxing Day Test (Reuters Photo)Consequently, Rohit got his first Test fifty outside Asia sine 2015 and India posted their highest total away from home this year. After declaring on 443 for 7, Virat Kohli wanted to see what his bowlers could do.They sent down 6 overs and it was evident Australia would not have it easy. Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah were spot on. Pujara said the pitch had variable bounce and it had started deteriorating – that should be good news for Ravindra Jadeja, who can be lethal on such a surface.Hanuma Vihari showed in Perth how effective he could be with his off-spinners.And if there’s variable bounce, Mohammed Shami would be itching to have a bowl.If Day 2 was all about good batting by the Indians, Day 3 could be about additional bowling. Even Aaron Finch conceded the pitch had shown signs of deterioration – he and his colleagues would then do well to watch out for Jadeja.What the players had to say about the pitch after Day 2?”The pitch has already started deteriorating and there is variable bounce already. When I was batting yesterday and when I was batting today, I felt there was a difference and I think it is not easier to bat now. From tomorrow onwards it will not get easier to bat and our bowlers have been bowling well so I would say we have enough runs on the board.” – Cheteshwar Pujaraadvertisement”This wicket is probably deteriorating more than we thought it would. Even tonight it was skidding through, there were a couple that took off. So it’s still game on if we bowl well and put India under pressure.” – Aaron FinchAlso Read | 106 off 319 balls: Ricky Ponting questions Pujara’s slow approach at MCGAlso Read | Aaron Finch on Tim Paine’s banter with Rohit Sharma: He did not take the baitAlso Read | India vs Australia: Cheteshwar Pujara sees no need to silence detractorsAlso See:last_img

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